Latimer Hinks Solicitors is urging people to avoid falling into the trap of dyingwithout a willafter a survey showed that more than 60 per cent of people do not have a will.
Partners at Latimer Hinks, one of Darlington and County Durhams longest established law firms, have encountered a host of problems when families have"locked horns"because of lack of a will.
The research, conducted for ICM Direct on behalf of Foresters Friendly Society, showed that 61 per cent do not have a will, a further one in ten has a will, butnot said where it is, while one in eight have not reviewed their will for more than 10 years.
Andrew Way, a Partner at Latimer Hinks Solicitors, said: "When somebody dies without a will, families can go to war over who gets what andusually the family fall out and resulting grudges last forever.
"Making a will doesnt always mean you will avoid a dispute, but usually it will at least leave those who have either benefited or perhaps been excluded from benefitting with the certain knowledge that your wishes have been carried out.
"Frankly people are simply burying their heads in the sand and ignoring their own mortality. Failing to make, or just as bad, to update a will canin family terms, be catastrophic.
"A will should be updated regularly. In most families you'll find a marriage, divorce, birth, death or bankruptcy in any 3/5 year time frame - all of these elements should necessitate a will review.
"When someone dies, they leave behind them their loved ones and materialpossessions, which often have great financial or emotional value. Making a willto reflectyour wishes, is one of the most importantlegacies you can leave your family and friends.